Franz Bardon was a famous Czech hermetic magician, herbalist and naturopath. He is remembered mainly for his three pivotal books on hermetic magic and initiation which have defined magic in the modern era for many practicing occultists. To my knowledge his time of birth is not known, so I had to erect the chart based on the events of his life. In doing so I have placed his birth at around 9am, give or take 15 minutes. This gives him a Sagittarius ascendant, a strong Cancer Moon in the 8th house, and Jupiter well placed in the 10th. If he is not a Sagittarius ascendant then he could only be a Gemini ascendant, being the 7th therefrom and giving similar results.
Many people familiar with the native’s life story will of course interject that the master remembered as Franz Bardon was not born as Franz Bardon, but was instead the master Hilarion who entered into the body of the 14 year old Franz Bardon to answer the prayers of his father Victor Bardon, who was praying for a spiritual guide. Here we have to remember two things: 1) Franz Bardon is reported to have said that he had to take on the karma of that incarnation when he entered the body, and as such the natal chart will still figure prominently in his life (such as his marriage, children, imprisonment and torture in a Nazi camp, etc), and 2) In some way it must have been the boys karma to lose his body to the master, and this will show in the chart with his transits in his 14th year. Thus we will not only examine the natal chart of the boy, but also the planetary occurrences that resulted in the avesh (spiritual entry) of the master. But first let us examine the natal chart.
The argument for either a Gemini or a Sagittarius ascendant is pretty strong in either situation. Both ascendants would give him a strong benefic in the 8th house indicating skill in occultism, but as a Sagittarius ascendant this would be a strong moon in its own sign, which is necessary for the vipareeta yoga to allow a good planet in a bad house to still give good results. The 8th house is the house of death but also of secrets, occultism, magic practices, tantra and initiations. The Moon is the prime planet for giving knowledge of metaphysics and philosophy, and its placement in the 8th in its own sign of Cancer makes this knowledge very great. In other words, whether you accept the story of the avesh or not, the boy was probably destined to at least study philosophy and maybe have interest in the occult. Aside from the Moon in the 8th, another important argument for his being a Sagittarius ascendant is that it puts his ascendant point in the lunar mansion of Mula, which is known in the vedic scriptures for giving knowledge of all kinds of herbs and roots and many natural healers either have their ascendant or their moon in this lunar mansion. This to me was the main selling point for choosing Sagittarius over Gemini, since either ascendant would have resulted in his imprisonment and torture, one of the most important karmas that the body was supposed to suffer and that Bardon had to take on to himself. But as a Sagittarius he also would have had many sisters, gained fame from writing, and died rather suddenly and unexpectedly, and hence I have decided his birth time as 9:00am December 1st, 1909.
The rising sign is set in Sagittarius in the lunar mansion of Mula. The great sage Viramahira in his Brihat Samhita ascribes to Mula all herbalists and natural healers, “Mula” itself in sanskrit translating as “root” as in the medicinal roots used in herbalism. Bardon’s skill with natural remedies was well known, and as mentioned above I feel this is a deciding factor in making him a Sagittarius ascendant as opposed to a Gemini. Physically Sagittarius will tend to give slimmer features when young, but being ruled by Jupiter the planet of expansiveness both Pisces and Sagittarius ascendant natives tend to gain weight and battle with obesity later on in life. Being in the 3rd navamsa (3rd of 9 parts of a sign) of Sagittarius his sub-sign or navamsa ascendant is Gemini. The physical traits of gemini were well defined when he was young, being thin with sharp features and dark hair and eyes. Those familiar with astrology know that the ascendant determines the physical appearance, and hence why I have dwelt on the subject here to confirm accuracy of the birth time.
The ascendant lord Jupiter is placed in the 10th house. The sage of vedic astrology, Rishi Parashara, in his Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, Chapter 24, verse 10;
If Lagna’s Lord is in the 10th house, the native is endowed with paternal happiness, royal honor, fame among men and will doubtlessly have self earned wealth.
Harji’s ancient classic Maan Sagari likewise opines,
If Lagna Lord is in the 10th, the native is noble and educated, renowned and gains fame. He respects his mother and father.
These are all simple matters and principles of vedic astrology, and I only resort to providing direct quotes for the sake of the readers to see the authenticity of such claims. The scriptures are in accordance with these things, and so we see that the ascendant lord in the 10th house gives success and fame, and makes one self-employed or self-made. As per the principles of the sage Parashara, the ascendant lord as the lord of a trine (1st, 5th and 9th houses) placed in a quadrant (1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses) gives raja yoga, a combination that adds a lot of energy to the place where the yoga (combination) occurs. In the 10th house raja yogas always give fame, though the aspect of Saturn in the 4th being opposite the 10th house delays this fame until later on and thus we see his popularity was primarily post-mortem. The principles of Jaimini also espouse raja yoga when the ascendant lord aspects the ascendant by sign sight, as happens here. Regardless of the various raja yogas formed, the main point is that the placement of the ascendant lord determines the drive of the native, and when placed in the 10th house the native will have a strong desire to bring something into the world, a strong sense of destiny that says he is here in the world for a specific purpose. It can be added to this that the various scriptures say that one of Jupiter’s indications is authorship, and the 10th house represents career and profession as well as the source of any fame, and hence he is primarily known for his written works. Those more familiar with astrology can look at the Navamsa chart above and see that the lagnamsa (ascendant in navamsa) is placed in Gemini with Jupiter and aspected by the Moon via both sign sight and planetary sight. Thus Jaimini states in his Upadesha Sutras, Chapter 1, Pada 2, Verse 102;
An excellent author is indicated by the aspect of Jupiter and the Moon upon Swamsa (navamsa ascendant) or the 5th therefrom.
Saturn and Mars are the only other aspects on the Ascendant. They are both posited in the 4th house of Pisces and aspected by their lord Jupiter, strengthening the 4th house and its indications. The 4th house represents happiness, psychology, mother, home, and similar things. Jupiter aspecting the 4th makes a person happy and “jovial”, and as the ascendant lord it means he was his own source of happiness and did not need external things. Saturn in the 4th house can lead to inner detachment, and Jaimini also teaches in his ancient classic that Jupiter aspecting the 4th makes one a genius while Saturn aspecting/in the 4th makes one skilled at many disciplines and all around a hard worker.
Moon in 8th
The Moon is in the lunar mansion of Pushya in the sign of Cancer. Pushya is active in the charts of many spiritual teachers because it is associated with the vedic deity Brihaspati, the Guru of the gods. Ruled by the planet Jupiter the Moon becomes connected to the 10th house and this connects his magical work with his life work and career. Venus has full planetary sight into the 8th house and has an almost exact opposition to the Moon. Any influence of Venus upon the 8th tends to lead to medicine and healing as a career which we see was the case with Bardon himself. The aspect also is connected to alchemy and I have seen it in the charts of two prominent taoist alchemists.
The 12th and 6th houses deal with imprisonment, the 6th being the primary house but the 12th dealing with foreign governments, loss and death. I have decided to place him as a Sagittarius ascendant and thus the combination for imprisonment takes place in the 12th house, which I felt was important due to his death in a prison and the 12th being all about how we leave the world. The Sun indicates government, Ketu indicates imprisonment and bondage, and Mercury indicates litigation, communication and legal matters. These three planets combined in the 6th or 12th will cause imprisonment unless a powerful benefic aspects them (which doesn’t happen in this case). The Sun, Mercury and Ketu are all conjunct with one another, increasing the danger and potency of this combination and leading to extreme situations such as torture. The entire combination takes place in the negative sign of Scorpio in both the natal chart and the navamsa divisional chart. Poisons, imprisonments, death and dangerous animals are all indicated by Scorpio in the classical texts. The 12th house and scorpio influences on this combination make much of it happen in secret or as the result of secret correspondences or knowledge (mercury). The lunar mansion afflicted is Anuradha which is ruled by the Atmakaraka Saturn. This is actually one of the more interesting things in this astrological combination, because the Atmakaraka planet always indicates that “something bigger than us” is at play, and the Atmakaraka oversees events that have to happen in our lives as a part of our destiny. A skilled astrologer should see that despite this seemingly negative combination a great deal of good comes out of it because Ketu in the 12th gives spiritual realization and liberation.
One would expect to find a lot of magic in the chart of such a famous magician and miracle worker, and Bardon certainly has some important combinations for great skill and accomplishment in this area. The Rishi Jaimini espouses that the Atmakaraka in trines with malefics and benefics give great skill in magic on a scale of 1 to 3, depending on how many planets aspect it from trines. Let’s apply this to both the Atmakaraka and the Karakamsa and see how adept Bardon is at magic according to the natal chart. First we find the Atmakaraka, which in his case is Saturn in the 4th house of Pisces. The rule is that the number of aspects of malefic planets will determine the skill in manipulating energies and spirits, while benefic aspects will determine if this skill is put to good use or becomes black magic. The Atmakaraka as a malefic automatically gives a score of 1/3, and it is accompanied by the malefic Mars giving a score of 2/3. We look to the trines and see the Sun and Ketu both in trine to the Atmakaraka Saturn, giving a score of 4 out of 3! The aspect of a powerful and benefic Moon from a trine ensures this power in magic is put to good use, and since the Moon is in the teaching nakshatra of Pushya, Franz Bardon most likely only demonstrated his magical power as a way to teach his students.
Now if we look to the Navamsa chart and find the Karakamsa we will see that the karakamsa sign is Aquarius. It has Saturn (1/3), Sun (2/3) and Ketu (3/3 points) all in trines, with a benefic Jupiter aspecting in a trine also to ensure the magical knowledge is put to good use. So we see that both his natal chart and his navamsa chart indicate the highest skill in magical knowledge and application.
Spiritual Entry or Spiritual Awakening?
There is really no way to determine for certain whether or not Bardon had a powerful spiritual awakening or if the boy Franz Bardon died and an Adept entered into the body. What we can do is look at the transits and the planetary periods for his 14th year and see what was going on! The first thing I noticed when I looked at his transits for early 1924 is that Rahu is transiting his 8th house of death and Ketu is transiting the 3rd house (a classic combination for meditation). Rahu in the 8th could certainly indicate a death-like experience. Jupiter was transiting his 12th house. The 12th house deals about equally with literal death and with the symbolic “death” of initiation and spiritual awakening. Hence it is a little difficult again to determine in a powerful awakening occurred or if the actual boy did pass away and the body was inherited. To my knowledge there is no mention or record of Bardon having been very sick before the radical change in realization and character he underwent at this age. This doesn’t mean that this wasn’t the case, it simply means I don’t know of any record affirming or denying it. Rahu in the 8th and the ascendant lord in the 12th could definitely give a strong illness during this transit and I would almost be surprised to hear affirmatively that he wasn’t very sick during this time. To me personally this seems like a very important detail. Some taoist and yogic sects teach that the entering of another’s body (parakaya praveshanam siddhi) has to be done when the person has only just died and the body is in a decent state. The only other case I know off-hand is that of Satya Sai Baba who claimed to have been an avesh of Shirdi Sai Baba. Like Bardon, he claims to have entered into his body when the boy was a teenager, and it followed a scorpion sting wherein the boy became deathly ill. To me then it seems likely based on the astrology of the moment indicating severe illness and the story of Sathya Sai Baba about the illness of his body before his avesh, that there is some more evidence for the avesh narrative than there is for it having simply been a spiritual awakening.